Tag Archives: melbourne

Wine, Corks and Canvas – A fundraising event for the National Breast Cancer Foundation

I’m no Picasso, but put a glass of wine in my hand, with a paintbrush in another, and Picasso has some competition on his hands. Just sayin!

Corks and Canvas is an art studio located in Melbourne. As per the name of the studio, Corks and Canvas allows you to paint, while sipping on your favourite wine.

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Some encouragement before we paint

I went to Corks and Canvas as part of a fundraising event for the National Breast Cancer Foundation on Friday night, where all money raised went to this fabulous cause.

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Important paiting equipment

To kick-start the night, we filled our glasses with wine and took our seat in front of a blank canvas. We were shown the art piece that we would be painting for this evening, using acrylic paints – The iconic Brighton Beach Boxes, which looked bright, and fun to paint.

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The example of what we were going to be painting!

Our art teacher took us through each step in creating our masterpiece, starting with painting the sky, then the sand, and finally the water. From there, we then got our creative flair on, and painted our beach boxes. Throughout the night we took breaks to fill up our glasses, chat and mingle with others, and see how everyone elses masterpieces were developing. It was so much fun!

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I am ready to get my Picasso on!

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Step by Step, with wine in between

While painting is a relaxing activity, adding wine in to the mix makes for a super relaxing activity – almost as relaxing as a massage! At the end of the night, we all ended up with our masterpieces to take home! And best of all, we helped raise money for a great cause.

If you too want to get your creative flair on, you can! Corks and Canvas offers many classes which you can book in to at your own leisure. Check it out, and get your Picasso on!

If you’re looking to donate to this great cause, click here

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credit @corksandcanvas

Until next time winos,

Cheers

 

 

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Penny’s Hill – Fabulous Ladies Wine Society wine night

Let me introduce you to a magnificent winery – Penny’s Hill. I was introduced to Penny’s Hill at the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society event, in Melbourne at Lumè restaurant.  Read about my last Fabulous Ladies Wine Society event here.
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Me with a few fabulous ladies @fabulousladieswinesociety

About Penny’s Hill

Penny’s Hill is based in McLaren Vale, South Australia.

The winery first began when Tony Parkinson, who was running a successful advertising agency, moved out of the city and down to McLaren Vale, where he bought 80 acres of land. It was on this land where the first vine was planted in 1991. Fast forward to today, and the winery now operates across two vineyards, and also sources grapes from a range of others.

The name Penny’s Hill was decided upon after deliberating over a long list of potential names. The name ended up being, quite simply, the name of the hill where the vines are located.

One of the really striking aspects of Penny’s Hill is the big red dot on the bottle, which is part of the winery’s branding. Ever seen those big red dots stuck on artwork in galleries to tell people it’s sold? That’s where the big red dot came from! It’s the perfect branding for this award-winning wine – each bottle a work of art, and easily recognisable from a mile away in a wine shop.

Award winning wines

Did you notice that? not just ‘award winning wine’, but ‘award winning wines’.

This is a world-class winery, having won three world awards! Go Penny’s Hill!

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  • 2015 Malpas Road Merlot – Winner, Best Australian Red in Show
    Mundus Vini, Germany, 2017
  • 2014 Footprint Shiraz – Winner, Best Australian Red in Show
    Mundus Vini, Germany, 2016
  • 2014 Edwards Road Cabernet – The World’s Best Cabernet
    Concours International des Cabernets, France, 2016

The Fabulous Ladies Wine Society night

On the night of the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society event, the Fabulous Lady herself from Penny’s Hill, Alexia Roberts ‘Lexie’ took us through a selection of wines. Lexi’s background in wine is impressive, having worked at Wirra Wirra, Maxwell Wines, and now Penny’s Hill –  she’s no stranger to good wine.

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Lexi @fabulousladieswinesociety

 

Served up with a stellar selection of wines from Penny’s Hill, matched with delicious dishes on the night, here are my three favourites.

The favourites:

The grapes that made up this wine came from the original vineyard planted, which are grown on an elevated area hit with a cool sea breeze. The wine contains 35% new French oak, and was an absolute delight to drink. Structural and delicate, with fine tannins, it’s no wonder this wine earned itself the ‘Worlds Best Cabernet’.

This wine was another one that originated from the original vineyard, this time from the valley floor, where the soil is clay.
When it comes to picking, Merlot is one of those tricky grapes that can become quite ‘jammy’ if it’s not picked at the right time. With the small window of opportunity for picking, Penny’s Hill applied a minimal intervention method to making this Merlot. Read about what minimal intervention wines are all about here!

The results – a soft well-rounded Merlot, with strong berry notes. It’s one of those wines that pairs well with food, particularly lamb.

This wine comes from a much higher elevated vineyard in McLaren Vale, and grows in a much cooler climate. The vineyard’s soil is sandy, embedded with rock. With bright red fruits, there’s a spicy and savoury feel to the wine. With 40% new oak, it’s intense and structural, with long length. This little beauty can be cellared up to 10 years.
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Celebrating those award winning wines!

So there you have it winos! If you’re ever in a wine shop, be sure to look out for the big red dot! Or alternatively, go direct to the winery for stocking up on wines that have earned their place on the world wine stage, just like I did.

Until next time winos,

Cheers!

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On the sixth day of of Christmas my wine rack gave to me a Rob Dolan Cabernet Shiraz Merlot

Growing up back in the country, Tuesday night used to be pizza night. It was from here where my obsession and love for the round piece of dough topped with every bit of deliciousness grew.

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To celebrate Tuesday night pizza night, a good pizza wine is required.

This wine I came across at the Williamstown Wine and Cheese festival. The Rob Dolan 2013 Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlottipthebottle2.png
Rob Dolan winery is a relatively new winery, and was crowned as best newcomer winery by James Halliday in 2014.
If you’re wondering who Rob Dolan is, he was the face behind Sticks and Punt Road wines in the Yarra Valley – wineries with spectacular wines, particularly the Sticks Pinot Noir which is an absolute cracker.

At the festival it was recommended by cellar door assistant manager Courtney that this wine would be paired well with pizza, and is known as THE pizza wine.

To test it out, a pizza was consumed (quite quickly) alongside a bottle of the Cabernet Shiraz Merlot.
And Courtney was right.

The spiciness from the Shiraz paired well with the tomato, and had a smoothness from the Merlot. It was rich and deep in colour, and was an absolute delight to drink.

If you’re looking for your next pizza wine, I’d recommend going for a Rob Dolan 2013 Cabernet, Shiraz, Merlot.

Until next time winos

Cheers

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Fabulous night with a fabulous bunch of ladies from the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society

Ladies, do you love your wine? Consider yourself fabulous? Well this is the place for you, the Fabulous Ladies Wine Society. It’s a group that was founded by the fabulous lady herself, Jane Thomson. The idea behind the formation of this society was to bring together ladies that love wine in a space that’s fun, friendly with no judgement. The society has a number of features from fabulous wine reviews, to fabulous events, and fabulous wine offers from some great wineries.

 

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I attended my first event a couple of weeks ago – The Fabulous Ladies Wine Soiree with Koonara Wines. It was such a great evening, and was so much fun, that I thought I’d share my experience with you.

The event was held at the Vincent hotel in Middle Park Melbourne, and was hosted by Koonara Wines from the Coonawarra wine region. On arrival, I was greeted by the bubbly Jane herself, and a glass of bubbly Koonara goodness – a Sparkling Pinot Chardonnay. It was delight to sip on. A zesty, slightly sweet wine with a dry finish.

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

The room filled up quickly, and was a buzz with so many fabulous ladies.
Once we all got ourselves seated, Jane introduced herself and explained what we were up for – some good food and good wine.

Bring it on!

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She also introduced us to Nicole Reschk. Nicole runs the Koonara winery alongside her husband Dru. Throughout the night Nicole explained each of the varieties, as well as the history and workings of the winery.

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

One of the best parts about this winery is that they try to keep everything as organic as possible, and it really shows in the quality of wine they produce. She also explained the idea behind the label – Angel Wings

“When wine is stored in oak barrels, a percentage of that wine evaporates – winemakers call this the ‘angels share’. What is left, is their gift to us.”

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Thank you Angels!

At the end of the evening there was a clear favourite in my books; the Shiraz reserve. The moment I tasted this Shiraz my tastebuds were singing. A smooth, well rounded Shiraz, French oaked, with hints of berries.

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

 

By attending the event, we also had the opportunity to buy our picks of the night. Jane put it perfectly that we should be buying direct from the winery, to ensure the profits go straight back in to the wine makers pocket. Well said Jane, I could not have put this better myself. And that’s exactly what I did 🙂

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me with the fabulous Jane

A fabulous night that I can not recommend highly enough! Be sure to get yourself along to the next event – Melbourne Ladies Fabulous Champagne Masterclass

 

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Credit @fabulousladieswinesocity

Until next time winos,
Cheers

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Melbourne Food and Wine Festival – Dal Zotto Wines

In Australia there are over 2,400 wineries. In Victoria alone there’s just over 700 wineries – the most of any state in Australia. Go Victoria! (Sorry other states!)

So many wineries, so many wines to taste!

 

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Thankfully, the Melbourne Food and Wine Festival helped us out in tasting some of Victoria’s best wineries in a one-stop-shop at the City Cellar showcase, on the banks of the Yarra River. While there were many brilliant wineries on show, there was one standout for me – Dal Zotto Wines.

 

 

Dal Zotto Wines is located in the King Valley region of Victoria. This region is approximately a 3 hours drive from Melbourne up the Hume freeway, nestled at the base of the Alpine National Park .

What makes King Valley unique is not only the amazing mountainous region it’s surrounded by, but also it’s migrant heritage. Many Italian migrants settled in the King Valley back in the 1940’s and 50’s. Along with the migrants came many European wine varieties including Pinot Grigio, Tempranillo, Barbera, and the infamous Prosecco. In fact, the King Valley can be considered Australia’s home of the Prosecco.

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There’s no place like home for Prosecco than the King Valley 

 

Dal Zotto Wines prides itself on its family values and heritage. With Dal Zotto founder Otto Dal Zotto being the planter of the first vine of Prosecco in the country, why wouldn’t you be?!

Who better to shine through these family values than Patrick, Dal Zotto’s colourful salesman. As soon as you meet Patrick, his energy and love of wine is infectious. Not to mention his love of food. He took us through each of their wines they had for tasting, and explained the flavour and characteristics of each. He even recommended using their Prosecco to make a mojito! Wow this guy loves to experiment. Something I’ll need to try out.

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Patrick!

 

If you do ever see the Dal Zotto Wines stand at any of the numerous wine shows that pop up in and around the country, be sure to drop by and say hi to Patrick!

 

 

My final take home picks of the day were:

Dal Zotto Wines Rosato 2013

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When you come across a Rosé as good as this one, pick it up and take it home with you. You’ll have no second thoughts or regrets.

 

Dal Zotto Wines Pinot Grigio 2015

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A classic Italian variety that stays true to how a Pinot Grigio should be – Crisp, fruity, with a clean refreshing finish.

 

Until next time winos,

Cheers

 

 

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A South Yarra Wine Bar and a Kosher wine

Nestled in at number 27 Toorak rd South Yarra, just near Punt rd, is (new-ish) wine bar South Press.

It was following a delicious steak night at the Arcadia hotel that my friend recommended we go to South Press for some wine and cheese to finish off the evening.south press wine bar

Walking in to South Press, the first thing I noticed was the floor-to-ceiling wall of wine bottles and glasses in the middle of the venue. With a wall of wine this size, I knew we’d be in for a treat.

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A small section of the wine wall

Seated at one of the tables by the friendly staff, we were handed the wine menu.

No surprise, it was an impressive menu to say the least.

Covering off each of the varieties (sparkling, white, rose, and red), the list contained a curated selection of wines from all over the world, and from our very own backyard.

The hard part was choosing what to drink!

My choice of wine for the evening was a Six Parallels South Assemblagé 2015. It was a blend of three grape varieties – Sauvignon Blanc (40%), Verdelho (38%), and Chardonnay (22%). Each great on their own, but when blended together = amazingness

I guess you could call it a Neapolitan wine – scooping up three delicious wines in to one glass.
Tasting note – a crisp, slightly fruity wine, with a mineral note driven by the Verdelho.

 

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Happy

Along with the wine, my friend and I tucked in to a delicious semi-hard Spanish sheep’s cheese covered in rosemary. On the side were some slices of fruit bread and a fruit paste.

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A cheesy photo

At the end of the evening I wanted to keep drinking the wine, however with it being a school night I decided to be sensible Sally and buy a bottle for later. Retail $27.

That’s right, the wine bar also doubles as a wine shop!

 

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When buying the wine, to my surprise the waitress told me that it was a Kosher wine. I’d never had Kosher wine before, and didn’t know much about what is was that made it Kosher.

 

So what makes a wine Kosher wine?

The wine making process can only be performed by someone who is Jewish: from crushing of the grapes, right through to the bottling of the wine.  With Kosher wines not containing any animal products, it also doubles up as being 100% vegan.

Australia is one country where demand for Kosher wine has increased in recent times, and Six Parallels South is one winery that has got it perfected.

If you’re in and around South Yarra next time, be sure to pop in for a glass.

 

Until next time wino’s,

 

Cheers

 

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Melbourne, you are such a tease with your good weather. You make me want to drink Rosé.

Oh Melbourne, you are such a tease. First you get an award for being the world’s most liveable city (fourth time in a row), and next, you turn on a perfectly beautiful sunny 17-degree winters day, with more to come! This has got me all excited about spring, which is just around the corner.

For some, spring is a time for frolicking through fields of freshly cut grass, in a spring dress.  For me, it’s more like frolicking through fields of freshly cut grass, in a spring dress, holding a glass of Rosé.

Image credit - LTC Photography

Image credit – LTC Photography

Rosé is the wine for spring (as well as summer): A perfect wine to sip on, when it’s a little too sunny for a red.

Why is Rosé pink?

Rosé is made from red grapes such as Pinot Noir, Syrah, Merlot, Cabernet Sauvignon, Tempranillo, Sangiovese, or Grenache. While there are a few ways to make Rosé, the wine essentially gets its colour from the skins when the grapes are soaked or pressed. Once the wine reaches its perfect colour, the skins are then removed.

For me, there are two wines at the top of my list..

AIX Vin De Provence

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Dominique Portet Fontaine

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How do you take your Rosé?

Typically, Rosé is a dry wine, although there are some slightly sweet varieties out there.  To complement the dryness of the wine, I love to nibble on a few strawberries.

Other ways you can drink it is with any spring-time or summer-time dish such as a salad, fish, bbq meat, or even sunbathing on the grass in a dress – just make sure you’re not lying on freshly cut grass! Grass Stains Ahoy!

As we count down to spring, I’m counting down the days until I can crack out a Rosé at a sunny weekend BBQ.

Until next time winos,

Cheers

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Gruner Veltliner – an Australian take on an Austrian wine

Wine menus at bars and pubs are becoming more diverse in varieties, thanks to more Aussies jumping on board the wine wagon, drinking and learning more about the drop they’re drinking.

It was just last week I was having a few sunny Saturday afternoon wines along the Yarra at Boatbuilders saturday_afternoonYard.

With wine being the drink of choice, there was one particular white on the menu that caught my eye. It was a Domaine Wachau Gruner Veltliner – An Austrian wine. It was positioned on the menu between a Riesling and a few Spanish wines followed by new beloved favourite, Fiano.
Intrigued to try, I asked the barman if he could tell me what it was like – “it’s quite mineral-ly… like licking a wet rock”.

Wow! What a description. I’m always fascinated by the way people describe wines. Some list off every tasting note under the sun, while others keep it simple, and interesting.

Based on this gentleman’s description, I just had to try it.

Verdict – while his description was certainly unique and quirky, my take on it would be ‘Riesling’s not so sweet sister’. It was very refreshing, light in colour, slightly fruity with a subtle sweetness.

Official tasting note –
“Bright greenish yellow; Offering enticing aromas of white pepper, delicate herbal notes, tropical fruits and hints of ripe yellow apple; Medium bodied with a crisp acidity, very harmonious, juicy fruits and spicy in the finish. A characteristic Federspiel, balanced and very typical.”

If you’re in the area, I highly recommend stopping off at Boatbuilders Yard, and giving this drop a try. At $10 a glass, or $48 for a bottle, I’d recommend you go for the bottle..

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Would love to hear your quirkiest wine description that you’ve seen or heard.

Until next time winos,

Cheers!

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Gibsons Wine Bar and Two Red Wines

This little corner bar has been a hit with the locals for a longtime, me included.

Gibsons Wine Bar is its name.gibsons wine bar hawthorn

Each time I step in to Gibsons, I immediately feel at home. Suffice to say, while I don’t have racks and racks of wine lined up in my home, it’s the friendly and welcoming atmosphere that gives it its homely feeling.
With an extensive range of wine on offer, you have the option of either picking out a bottle from the rack and/or fridge, or selecting a glass of wine from the wine list on offer. Not only do they stock wine, but they also stock a range of beers, ciders and spirits to cater for everyone. Perfect if you’re having a drink with a non-vino drinker!
With the drinks  sorted,  you can also order a side of olives, cheese or bread and dips; and if that doesn’t suit, you can even order takeaway to be delivered to you in the bar from local nearby places, just like you can do at home. 
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2 glasses I recently drank at Gibsons, and loved were
A full bodied oaky red, with tasting notes of dark berries and licorice.
This particular wine was quite rich and robust. So much so, that it was definitely a wine for slow drinking, compared to a typical Shiraz that I’m used to.
James Halliday rated this wine 92/100
Who’s James Halliday you ask? Google him. He’s one of Australia’s leading wine writers and critics. If you see a great review and rating by him, then you’re on to a winner.

 

Epsilon Shiraz BarossaEpsilon Shiraz Barossa – $10 a glass
A medium bodied red, with tasting notes of berry and chocolate.
While not as rich and robust as the Tatiara, this Shiraz was a pleasure to drink.
James Halliday rated this wine 94/100

 

To accompany the wine, my friend and I ordered takeaway pizza which was delivered to us in the bar from Pizza Religion – A delicious traditional Italian style thin crust pizza – mmmm! My favourite food to accompany any glass of wine.

So, be sure to get yourself down to Gibsons, and if you see me there popped up in the corner sipping on a vino be sure to say hi!

73 Burwood Rd, Hawthorn

Until next time winos,

Cheers.

 

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Choosing a red wine for a Sunday roast

There is nothing better than sitting down to a roast dinner on a Sunday. A roast dinner that someone else has cooked, with close friends, sharing a great bottle of wine, at a pub.

This happened to me a couple of weeks ago, on a perfect autumn day, where the sun was shining and there was a slight crispness in the air. It had been quite some time since I had sat down to a roast dinner . While I can cook, and cook a roast quite well, I’m not known to be one to cook myself a roast dinner and polish off a whole chicken or leg of lamb in one sitting. I am however, fascinated by those who can; how can one human being stomach that much meat in one go? Any who, getting back to my perfect Sunday lunch.

collingwoodThe pub of choice was The Grace Darling Hotel. A much-loved watering-hole nestled in trendy Collingwood that serves up roast dinner each and every Sunday; the ‘Sunday Roast Today’ was lamb. Yum!

This made my meal ordering quite easy. The next part came the “I’d like to see the wine menu please”. Since my vino girlfriends and I were each going to have a glass of red, we decided to share a bottle. Scanning through the menu, the girls decided to task me with job of choosing a wine that would match perfectly. While the idea of choosing a red might be easy for some, the pressure of getting the right match with food can be quite hard, as it can make or break the wine and/or the food.

On the menu, there was the choice of a Shiraz, Pinot Noir, Cabernet Sauvignon, Sangiovese and a Nebbiolo, with tasting notes listed beside each. Trying to gauge the taste of each wine from reading the descriptions, it was the Nebbiolo that stood out at me. The tasting notes it had listed included violets, wild mushrooms and rose petals. Mmm who doesn’t love flowers with a lamb roast? Aside from the bouquet of flowers, it was the mushroom note that had me hooked. Yes I am a lover of mushrooms. The food kind, not the ‘other’.

Nebbiolo, pronounced “Neb-ee-yolo”, or as I would say “YOLO wine”, is a dry Italian red, likened to a Pinot Noir but with more body. This Nebbiolo was named Pinga, and was a 2012 vintage that hailed from Pondalowie Vineyards, Toolleen within the Heathcote region – a wine region in Victoria Australia renowned for its reds.

 

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roast_dinnerWhile we waited for our roast to arrive, we decided to pop the cap and get started. Needless to say, without the roast, this wine was a delight to drink. WITH the roast, it was even better. We polished off the meal and bottle quite easily, and it became clear to us all that the Nebbiolo was the perfect choice. I now think that the nursery rhyme ‘Mary had a little lamb’ should be re-written to ‘Mary had a little lamb and a bottle of Nebbiolo’.

 

Shame Sunday’s only happen once a week.

 

 

How about you? What’s your choice of wine you like to pair with your Sunday roast ? Feel free to post your comments in the section below.

Until next time winos,

Cheers.

 

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